How do we define a monster?
Well there are the traditional monsters – the Bogeyman, the Werewolf, the Vampire – and there are the modern definitions of monster – the Murderer, the Stalker, the Torturer.
Professor Google defines it as:
And though we all like to be scared by the idea of monsters few would want to come into contact with any of them. The idea is enough of a thrill. Which is why we turn to books and movies. It gives us a chance to live through those situations without really being a part of them. Gives our brains something to think about – how we would handle it, how we would behave in a situation like that, would we be the hero or the coward?
But a monster is not just something that can be named. We each have our own monsters to deal with of our own making. Some have been beaten down and caged in the depths of our beings, whilst others find the dream time perfect for their proclivities.
And they are difficult to name, hard to explain, and why would you want to tell anyone anyway?
Do you have a hidden monster? Does your character?
Imagine being a monster like a werewolf – surfaces only once a month at the full moon, can occur over three consecutive nights, drives you with an un-ignorable force to feed on something you wouldn’t ordinarily consider (yeah I get like that for chocolate too).
Or a vampire – A (not entirely chosen) preference for living through the night, dependent on only one liquid for sustenance, if you’re not in bed before dawn the light hurts your eyes.
The bogeyman – an insane need to scare the crap outta people! Play pranks on your unsuspecting victims, particularly children. Hiding under peoples beds and in their closets, watching them whilst they sleep, and occasionally abducting them.
The Murderer – may kill in sprees over a few nights before never being heard from again (at least not for a few years anyway), often makes gruesome messes of their victims and leaves the remains for someone else to find, is driven by an insatiable need that once fulfilled goes away for a while.
The Stalker – watches you from an uncomfortably close distance, sometimes they get in your house, go to your work place, hide in plain sight, deliberately causing harm to a persons life.
The torturer – an insane need to scare the crap outta people. Using whatever means they think will work. To get whatever they want from a person.
And of course there are many more – I sometimes wonder if the old monsters are simply the same as the monsters we experience at present without the benefit of science and discovery. Yes I know some of you will be screaming ‘Of course they are!’ at me whilst others will be saying ‘Don’t be stupid, those things are real.’
And you can Google them and find evidence to support either side of the argument. That’s the beauty of the internet – we have all the information to explain just about anything for either argument in any situation. We are in information overload.
And that is the point of this post – when you write a monster into your story, any kind of monster, use the evidence available on line as back up. Use the old texts or the new, the for or against arguments, the new footage evidence and the old stories, and make your characters even more believable. Pick your point of view of that particular monster and stick to it, don’t try to encompass what everyone thinks. Don’t try to please everyone.
Do vampires glitter in sunlight?
Can a magical ring let a werewolf turn when they like?
Can buying a divan prevent the bogeyman from hiding underneath? – seriously, can it? I need to know before I get a new bed.
And remember the setting of your story too, the time it’s set in, what did they believe then, and what do you believe is true of your monster. How will you marry the two?
My thoughts on evolution
Don’t worry I ….ha ha ha I was going to tell you I haven’t gone nuts…. it’s still relevant read on!
My theory is that evolution may have created a few other species, variations on the human species we know and love. And over time that strain of human failed to exist in this world – it wasn’t the dominant species, or it’s particular anatomy didn’t provide the best chance of survival – and like so many species it faced extinction.
Now whether extinction occurred I’ll leave up for debate. But! What if the human DNA carries the potential for those species to exist again. Your genes sometimes get it a little wrong after all – you’ve heard of people with thick hair all over their bodies, including the face. Those with a sensitivity to sunlight, who are in fact actually allergic to it. People with tails, lizard hearts, blue eyes.
Science is forever learning new things about the body it didn’t know or understand before.
So don’t forget your monsters origin story – for me, vampires and werewolves are often an alternative form of human that evolution created just to check see if it got it right, or even to make sure there was something keeping the human population lower on the food chain. After all nature rarely gets it wrong.
And people? Well people like to believe the science, particularly if it’s based in fact. And just because your book isn’t sci-fi it doesn’t mean you can’t use a bit of science to strengthen your case. It all adds to the making it real for the reader factor.
What are your monster beliefs?
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Horror and Fantasy Author – Also writing as K.T. McQueen. Love Western Horror, cowboy boots, my cactus Collin, & my Demon Cat.
Moths – I hate moths, the way they flutter at your face!